Thursday, September 30, 2010


My favorite form of shopping is at the grocery. :D It is where I am most relaxed. At other shopping areas, I can be quite tense... almost always afraid to make the wrong choices. But at the grocery-wow! I can be quite thorough and at the same time relaxed. :D

So anyway, I chanced upon Mr. Marketman and was inspired by his post on buying produce. I used to buy at Waltermart when we were still living at Pasong Tamo, until I discovered Landmark. I loved the wider selection, and cheaper products there. I still prefer this grocery for their vegetables and fruits. However- since we moved to Taguig, I frequent Market Market more. I have yet to compare the prices of the produce from here and the other groceries.

So, inspired by Marketman's post, the top 10 produce on my list would be:

1. Bananas

2. Garlic

3. Lettuce

4. Cucumber

5. Tomatoes

6. Ampalaya (Bitter gourd)

7. Apples

8. Carrots

9. Ginger

10. Sweet Peas

So, this is weekly top 10 produce. Sometimes, I sneak in some really good grapes or citrus or strawberries, or whatever is fresh and in season. For meat, I usually buy some ground lean beef and pork steak cuts and some good fish fillet if I can't find any other fresh fish. For the good-but-bad-stuff, I buy some corned beef or hotdogs for breakfast. For healthy breakfast fare staples, I try to stock up on organic eggs and rolled oats. I've learned to like the taste of organic eggs, although they do have a slightly game-y aftertaste. As for oatmeal, I never liked it any other way but the old-fashioned rolled oats type. Also, I buy only the 2kilo bags of organic rice which can last for 2 weeks, so I get a fresh bag every 2 weeks.

And that's what usually fills up the grocery cart. :) What's yours?

Monday, September 20, 2010

High Heat

Not all good eats should be cooked slowly. :P

Sometimes, quick, high heat is best. And some people should listen! Hehe

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trying to Eat Healthy

The past few months, I've been trying to eat healthy. I've been skipping a lot of canned goods and noodles, as well as cookies. Lately, I see myself wolfing down the bad stuff. I blame the weather, stress, whatever. All bad stuff.

The good news is that I was able to take a couple of shots of my good food stuff. This should keep me inspired.

I love fresh ampalaya (bitter gourd). My Mommy forced me to eat them raw when I was a kid, and it seems that this notorious vegetable has crept its way into my heart. I especially love it sliced thinly and tossed with fresh tomatoes, onions and seasoned with vinegar, salt and pepper. It's such a palate cleanser. Refreshing and very, very healthy.

The ampalaya is packed with loads of iron, and the tomatoes are full of vitamin C. It's a powerful combination of vitamins. Cheap, too.

I got lucky with this bunch.
They were the freshest that I've gotten in my three years stay in the metro.
I tossed in some fresh, cubed cucumbers too. Yumm.

I also tried to substitute some good ol' gulaman as dessert. It's not so bad, but they are not as sweet. The good thing about gulaman is, they're made of seaweed, and not of crushed bones of whatever animal. Yes. Check out the labels of your favorite jellies, and Google them.

I used some red gulaman and poured in some strawberry Kool-Aid.

A good ratio to use would be 3 cups of water to 1 bar of gulaman. This should get it firm and jiggley.

I should try other flavors.

What's your healthy food? :)

Monday, July 19, 2010


I love the rainy season. The clouds and the gloomy sky does something to my mood.
I reminisce.

And daydream a lot too.
When the rain starts to fall,
either I fall asleep clutching a book
I make something creative.
I look at the plants and imagine.. what sort of life lives in there. And all such weirdness.

I make myself a cup of hot tea or chocolate, and maybe grab a sweet or two.

And continue to imagine some more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Mark and I went out with his friends one Saturday night. It's been so long since we went out on a Saturday night with friends. We were to meet at Greenbelt, and found ourselves seated at Ebun after finding out Kitchen was packed full.

This was our chance to try this Kapampangan restaurant. Due to being famished, we weren't able to take photos of the food we ordered. We had Chicharon Bulaklak, Bicol Express, and the others ordered other stuff. The food was okay. Service was a bit slow, especially since the places wasn't really busy.

What blew our minds was dessert. There was only one order left of their Puto Bumbong, so we all shared on one Puto Bumbong and one Bibingka. 9 hungry mouths plus two quivering rice cakes. It was a massacre all right. Especially so since this Bibingka was----

Buttery, creamy, salty, sweet

There was so much butter in this thing. It was creamy and soft, and the top was crusty and toasted. There was cheddar cheese and slivers of salted eggs. Yumm. Perfect with coffee. Not the best I've tasted, but good enough. I should get me some Bibingkinitan soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Culinary Vacation

We wanted a vacation so bad, but the budget didn't permit us. So, when we had a little something last month, we planned to go somewhere. Still not enough for a full-blown vacation, and Mark being wary of flying during the rainy season-- we settled for a feast in Tagaytay to nowhere else but-- Antonio's!

We've heard of their great steaks long before. But last month, we saw a great feature on the Philippine Star of Antonio's by Paolo Lorenzana- and we saw this scrumptious photo of one of their dishes. So Mark took me there on the holiday last week, while the new President was taking his oath. :)

The path going there reminded me of Sonya's Garden- a winding, wildflower-strewn little road. I love these flowery paths. A big black wrought iron gate greets as we enter Antonio's. There were quite a number of cars parked that day. We found a spot just beside the gate, and parked right there.

We still had to take a 2 meter hike to the door. The door! Oooh! I love those big wooden doors. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it alone. Sigh. I was too excited to think!

As we entered the bungalow, we were met by ancient photos hung on a gallery- showcasing the family's heritage. The place smelled of dew and wooden antiques---heavenly!!! I grew up on those heavy wooden furniture- so their smell brings back memories. We were seated by the Koi pond and the big balcony, where we saw other diners on the lower level. The floor was made of black graphic machuka tiles. Lovely. White walls. High ceilings, garden and black wood. High on class and romance. Nothing too fancy. Just really classy. Clean lines are still the best design.

Wait- I'm supposed to talk about food! Hehe. The maitre d' was a very nice lady who gave us the best seat and treated us perfectly. She gave us several menus, and the husband ordered the dish we came here for-- Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad and Onion Marmalade . We came prepared-- or so we thought.

The next person who attended to us, was the waiter in charge of our table. He had to explain to us that they served the entree in sets. And we thought we could order ala carte- to his (and ours too ) seeming consternation! Obviously, we didn't look like the ones on the other table, since Mark didn't really inform me we were going that particular day (We wore plain shirts and jeans, and yes, it was another one of his surprises.).

Anyways, we continued to order and were really excited for the appetizer. And because we ordered the set meals, we got this on our table first-

Parmesan roll.

I forgot the exact name of the bread. I know there was Parmesan on it so I will christen it- the Parmesan roll! This is the first bread that the husband liked. He says - "all bread are the same". I protest, of course. This time- I won. :)

And then came the much awaited appetizer---

Roasted Bone Marrow with Parley Salad and Onion Marmalade

And this is the way to eat it.

Verdict: Husband liked it, I was disappointed. I expected more from this dish. I expected the bone marrows to be in their plain, salty, creamy essence. What dominated in this dish were the capers on top. Lots of capers. And the menu says parsley salad. No mention whatsoever of capers. I like capers, but in small quantities, and not to overwhelm that special thing called- bone marrow. The dish was accompanied by toasted and dry slices of baguette, and a serving of the onion marmalade. The onion marmalade was quite nice.

I wiped the remaining fat off the marrow with the remaining Parmesan roll.
It tasted much better.

Next up, was the House Salad-

This is described as -
Fresh Mesclun Salad from the Garden, Bleu d'Auvergne Crumble,
Glazed Walnuts, Dried Cranberries with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

I loved the walnuts. Mark loved the blue cheese.

Like the House Salad at Sonya's Garden, this salad also had a lot of bitter varieties. I don't know if these are much healthier than the milder ones, but they had a lot of it. A little off-putting, really. I liked the Walnuts though, and the Cranberries and Raspberry Vinaigrette. Husband likes the cheese. It was a very strong cheese, almost goat-like in taste. But when I googled the Bleu d'Auvergene, they say it comes from cow's milk.

Tomato and Capsicum Soup

Very strong and pimiento-ey, with a pleasant milk froth on top.
This is one of those times when I am thankful we don't like the same things.

I gave him my share. Everyone's happy. :D

While waiting for the entree, I spied this lovely lamp. I want one.

This is Mark's pick-
Barbecue Lamb Cutlets with Garlic Risoni.

And because he's married to me, I got to sample this dish too! Hehe.
It's so good! The cutlets were cooked just right. Juicy and almost well done.
The Garlic Risoni surprised me. I thought it was rice at first since I wasn't able to read about it on the menu, but this was actually rice shaped pasta! So cute. It was smothered in a light but creamy sauce.
Good one, babe!

I had this-
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass on Truffle Mashed Potato

I also liked this! It was a very tender, fat and creamy sea bass,
plus the potatoes had bacon bits.
Yum! Happy.

All the heartache I felt over the appetizer and the soup almost vanished at this time. The main dishes were really good! And when when they reminded us of the dessert, I was all giddy! Great. We had some tarragon tea while waiting. The tea was too strong though. It could have been steeped too long.

There were like 5 dessert choices. And here are the winners--

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Mark is happy with this.
The dense cheesecake is covered in thick and smooth caramel which oozed with every spoonful.

Assorted Berries with Creamed Chantilly

I had this because I'm such a sucker for berries. I am so happy that this had blueberries, strawberries and one special raspberry tucked in the middle of the sponge cake and whipped cream.
This is really much like a berry trifle. Lip-smacking.

Thanks you Lord for this visit, it was a lovely trip and, we hope to be back to try that suckling pig. :)

Someday again. :)

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hilagang Kanluran

Happy New Year, all!

I'm starting off the year with our recent road trip to the north east of Luzon--- Cagayan Valley! This isn't technically our first road trip for the year. We went up to the mountains on the first day of the year to check out the much buzzed about Zip Zone in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich Bukidnon. We had some Grilled Chicken Steak at the Cowboy Grill, but I wasn't able to take pics. It was good though :)

So, back to this post. Mark had to attend a hearing in Buguey, Cagayan Valley which is just "next door" to Aparri. We were psyched to be able to drive that far, so we packed our bags and drove away...

On the way up, we saw some major fast food establishments along the highways, which just means that business is good in these areas. There weren't too many fast food joints in Region 1, so Region 2 got me excited... I wasn't going to get hungry!Yey!

We stayed at Tuguegarao City, and went food tripping as soon as we arrived! :P First stop, dinner at Kainang Pilipino. We initially wanted to go to Kusina Cagayana but they were closed that evening. The place had an old feel, but not Ilocos old. Just 1980's old, with garish green paint on the walls. Not very appetizing. I started ordering signature Ilocano dishes like:

I like this dish. Mark agrees too. It's very much like Pinakbet, only it's not oily. There isn't any visible bagoong, but the watery sauce is highly flavored with non- red bagoong. Yum!

Truth is, I've been wondering how this dish tasted ever since my cousin, who's mother hails from Tuguegarao, was craving it.

Halabos na Hipon
Mark's order and the restaurant's Catch of the Day.
It was good, but I was distracted by the Dinengdeng. :P

Nilagang Baka, compliments from the restaurant.
I love freebies, and I really liked their Nilaga :) Perfect for tired bums.

Another Ilocano specialty, which resembled a non-sizzling Sisig.
It's fried pork and slathered with lemon and onion sauce.
I'm not a big fan of it, but Mark really liked it. :) So there.

This was one of Tuguegarao's nicest restaurants, and for that plus our drinks--our bill totalled P600plus. Not cheap, but the food was good.

I was doing a lot of Googling the night before we drove off, and found this blog, the name of which I wasn't able to write down. Boo. I'm sorry.But I was able to write down it's contents. He recommended Dock's Panciteria for breakfast, and for the best Pancit Batil Patung in the city. We drove to Pengue Highway for breakfast (since our hotel didn't include breakfast in our accomodation), to search for Dock's (pronounced as "doks"). Being the maarte that I am ( now i admit, regrettably!), I wasn't too keen to eat there when I saw the place. Mark didn't want to force me to eat there either, so we went to the next best place, as recommended by Anton of Our AwesomePlanet in his blog. We searched for Gretchen's, and found it in a cramped corner of Magallanes Street.

Pancit Batil Patung @ Gretchen's
This is Tuguegarao's specialty noodle dish. Almost every corner in Tuguegaro pays homage to this dish, as panciterias abound everywhere! The egg noodles are topped ("patong") with vegetables, eggs and meat. At Gretchen's, they have the Pancit Batil Patung and the Gretchen's Special. The latter is topped with beef, and the former is topped with carabeef. We ordered both. Each order is P60-P70, and they were very generous with their serving.

The pancit is accompanied by an egg soup- which was very creamy and salty.
Good, especially on a cold day, but too salty.

We had a long day after that, as we checked out the Callao caves, drove off to Aparri to check on Mark's work, after which we drove off to Port Irene in Santa Ana. We arrived in Tuguegarao in time for dinner, and headed straight off to Kusina Cagayana, and ordered the following:

Pinoy Salad
This was composed of steamed leafy greens such as talbos ng kamote, seaweed, spinach, pickled papaya (atchara), tomatoes and onions. It had a dressing of Bagoong.
Verdict: WE LIKE!

Pancit Malabon
They highly recommended Pancit Malabon on their menu.
Which was weird, but we still tried it. It was good. We also ordered
some Bulalo Soup, which I didn't really like. Just don't order it.

For our last meal in Tuguegarao, we ate at Michelle- the hotel's restaurant. We ordered some of their signature garlic longganisa, and garlic fan that I am--- was happy enough :P

Along the highway, we could see men planting rice. Charming.

Plus, while cruising through the winding Dalton Pass, we saw some vegetable vendors with these adorable greens--- fresh talbos ng kamote. These are so good steamed in the pan. They have a crisp and nutty flavor.And at P10 for the whole bunch, these are awesome!!

And now, for the piece de resistance, G&B's Buko Pie. This is one specialty Nueva Vizcaya should be very proud of. This is, for me, the BEST buko pie. Let me show you why...

At P135 for 3 boxes

Oooh, look at that. Not soggy.

Barely an inch thick, the filling is only two or three layers high
and glued together by sweet milk. Sweet!

Even my Mark likes this. And he's not a buko pie fan.

There's just so much to see and so much to eat in this region. I can't wait to discover more beautiful and yummy things, Philippines! Dios Mabbalos :)